The Recommendation in the Fire Master Plan to move the Port Stanley Fire Hall to
a location near Warren Street raises the fear that Selbourne Park might be sacrificed
to provide the needed space.
Turning Selbourne Park into a site for a fire hall would be an insensitive blunder.
The park, as it exists today, is an expression of many of the best things about
this community...sports and recreation, volunteerism, community spirit and pride
and a sense of togetherness.
The empty field that became a great ball park was the result of thousands of hours
of work and thousands of dollars donated by the people of this village. Much of
the work was spear-headed by the Optimist Club of the early 1970s but we also remember
that Ross Whalls of Elgin Electric donated time and materials far beyond the efforts
of most supporters. Selbourne Park just holds too many memories and too much potential
for us to lose it on the recommendation of some consultant who never sat and watched
his kids play ball on that diamond.
In short, the price of placing the fire hall at Selbourne Park is too high. Much
too high. Let us keep our park and look at alternatives. Compromise is the Canadian
way, eh? How about considering a portion of the Walker farm? It is only a couple
hundred yards (or meters or something) further west. Who says the location has to
be on the east side of the creek? There is also empty land on Catherine Street.
One of the first things to greet visitors to Port Stanley is a well maintained ball
park. That speaks volumes about who we are. Some consultant looks at Selbourne Park
and sees a modern, four-door fire hall. We look at it and have a different vision.....some
of the best fast ball teams in the province made this their home field. The list
of people who played at Selbourne Park is a lexicon of the best people in this village.
Who can forget Milt Witherow, our one-armed pitcher who could field a ball as well
as anyone? (Milt was also a volunteer fireman.) Most of all, we remember the kids,
lining up for their first swing at a T-ball and proudly wearing their uniforms when
they graduated to "the big leagues".
Any decision that impacts the integrity of Selbourne Park should be the result of
a long discussion of the pros and cons of such action by the entire community. We
feel it is an issue every bit as important as the Prespa proposal on William Street.
If the Central Elgin council is doing its job, we will have that discussion. Selbourne
Park is too much of a jewel to be thrown away on the recommendation of some consultant.
Better still, commit to saving the park.
Frank and Nancy Prothero.